Synonymiser is an experimental micro-application that returns related words from search data relationships held in the Powerhouse Museum’s collection database. These ‘synonyms’ are dynamically generated from realtime user interaction with the collection database.
On the Synonymiser site you can enter any search word or phrase and it will return a list of ‘related’ words or phrases and a measure of relationship.
Of course, the results are not synonyms in the dictionary sense of the word, but instead show meaning relationships specific to the way in which users use our collection database.
The idea is that these word relationships can then be used to query other data sources. In this case we retreive images from Flickr™ to demonstrate the concept. It is possible to merge terms and/or offer alternative terms to improve results using this.
There is a proposal to make these synonym relationships available via an API to allow other museums to use and build upon our usage data to improve their own search tools.
Is this useful? Would you like to be involved or help with this?
What is ‘synonym promiscuity’?
‘Synonym promiscuity’ is our term for describing the uniqueness of a relationship of one word to another. If the value is low (less than 10) then the synonym has a very close relationship with the word entered. If the value is high then the synonym is related to many other words (high promiscuity). We are currently refining the mathematics behind the calculation of these values – but they current figures shoukld provide a means for comapring words.